For most people, painting is an emotional experience – and I am no exception. Indeed, I have to have an emotional attachment to some aspect of my subject matter in order to create a successful and satisfactory result. Sorry if this sounds in any way pretentious!
For this reason many of my canvasses feature places with special significance to my family and myself: Cumbria (not just the Lake District) where I now live; The West of Scotland; The Yorkshire Wolds.
The special significance can be simply a feeling that I had at that moment in time – as a consequence, some paintings have a slightly surreal quality. Some are tranquil, others very slightly edgy. This may not always be obvious at first glance – and that is fine. I do believe, however, that (ideally) the longer one lives with a work, the more its mood or ‘vibe’ is conveyed.
I find there is a spiritual quality to many of the locations I paint. If you do not believe me, go and visit the Isle of Tiree or a Hebridean island such as Barra; Walk the shore of the Solway Firth or the fells of the Lake District, each one offering their own majestic views and moods according to the weather or the time of day. In all these places, there is an echo of people who have gone before – fell farmers or crofters; fishermen; shipbuilders…..in most cases, people whose lives were lived under hard conditions in a harsh but spectacularly beautiful environment.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that I have an obsession with stones. Many of my landscape paintings also feature water – I love water, the sea, rivers, lakes… even rain. Light is a fascination for me as it is for most artists. All the places I paint have a very interesting and a very different kind of light. The West of Scotland has a magical, sharp kind of light. Parts of the Lake District (for obvious reasons) have amazing shadows and on a sunny winters day or early on a summers morning, the most spectacular sparkling light – the like of which I have never seen anywhere else in Britain. Yorkshire light is softer and calmer but no less beautiful. I am sure that other places will inspire me in the years to come – I certainly hope so.
My work is in many different media, though I favour oils or acrylics…..occasionally I use coloured pencils, watercolours or gouache… it all depends on what I feel the subject matter dictates.
I attended Newcastle upon Tyne School or Art and Design in the days when the emphasis was on drawing – especially life drawing – but I never completed the course. Most of my interest in art comes from my late father, whose ability in every medium available was truly inspirational…. and on my many artist friends and acquaintances.